We all tend to avoid conflict when possible. After a car accident, you might desire to neutralize hot tempers and calm the situation down. However, there are a few things you should avoid saying to those at the scene, including drivers, police and insurance adjusters.
Here are the top five:
- “I’m all right.” In the moments after an accident, you may experience a spike in adrenaline, and this can have a number of adverse effects. You may feel physically fine when you are in fact seriously injured. You don’t have a duty to reassure others, and regardless of how you may feel, it is critical that you seek medical attention to rule out and/or diagnose any injuries that may be masked by the adrenaline.
- “I’m so sorry.” Apologizing is a knee-jerk response in difficult situations, particularly when we feel unsure of the actual facts. Though it may seem natural to apologize after an accident, statements of this kind can cause insurance companies to place you at fault. Keep your apologies to yourself and only exchange names, phone numbers and insurance information.
- “I might have. . .” We use language like this when under stress. Don’t say you might have missed a traffic sign of some kind, and never provide information if you cannot be sure of the accuracy of what you are saying. Later on, your attorney can advise you on issuing a statement if necessary.
- “It’s okay.” Maybe the other person is crying, or perhaps they are expressing concern for you and your physical wellbeing. Either way, it is crucial to avoid making uninformed judgments of this kind. Consult with medical professionals, your insurance company and an attorney before you try to reassure others.
- “This was all my fault.” Some of us are far too quick to assume responsibility for things. Don’t jump to conclusions, and absolutely do not directly admit to wrongdoing of any kind. There may be other variables that have not yet come to your attention, and only an investigation can produce a final determination about who is at fault.
Between vehicle repairs, medical bills and lost wages, accidents can be costly. Adhering to the guidelines above will protect your ability to seek compensation should you need to do so.
Getting in touch with an experienced attorney is also a key step in evaluating the impact of your accident and determining whether you need to file a personal injury claim.